Jason Becker has not always been so freely giving of his time. He admits he used to be hot-tempered and pessimistic when he was younger, but since committing to his faith in 2006 there has been a "night and day" switch.
Shortly after that commitment, the Newton Medical Center food and nutrition services supervisor felt a call to do more — specifically, to get involved in mission work. Praying on it for some time, an encounter with family helped guide him on his current path.
Following his mother's funeral in 2011, Becker got to talking with one of his cousins who worked in Colorado as a director for an iYouth camp — a group that ministers to and mentors international youth (teenagers) who are sometimes isolated after being uprooted from their home country and transplanted to an area with language, culture and customs they do not understand.
Convinced this mission was the one he was being called to, Becker started to help with the planning for the next trip to Italy (in 2012) — and once arriving, it was clear he was in the right place.
"That very first day, the Lord told me this is where you need to be and so I've just been going ever since," Becker said.
Over six years and trips to multiple countries — getting ready for the next iYouth camp mission trip to Belgium this summer — Becker has helped in multiple facets, from mentoring to acting as camp counselor to ensuring the safety of attendees.
Meant to be a place where international teens can come to learn about God and be encouraged in their faith while building relationships with fellow attendees, the week-long iYouth camp brings them together to worship and to learn — both individually and in group settings. Becker noted there are a lot of educational opportunities offered, through elective classes and workshops ranging from topics like worship to the dramatic arts and social media. Last year, Becker was able to lead one such class, "How to be successful in today's society."
"The class was on if you put your full trust in Christ, he will take care of you all the way to be successful, but you don't have to have a desire to have money and all this other stuff that goes with it," Becker said.
Ever since giving his life to the Lord in 2006, Becker noted he has been fully invested in giving back to the community every chance he gets.
Outside of his mission work, Becker also mentors young adults (16-26) in the Newton community and was helping out at the homeless shelter when it initially opened up. Even his other business ventures — like a lawn service — have opened up other opportunities to give back, where he noted he will always offer to do other small tasks (clean windows, take out the trash, etc.) free of charge.
"I have a heart to give. I've done some volunteer work in the community over the years," Becker said. "I've had a passion for it, and this just took that passion one step further."
While the iYouth camps are something Becker has been proud to be a part of, he noted he has gotten even more fulfillment from seeing the teens he works with take what the mentors are teaching to heart and spreading the ministry outside of the camps and year-round.
"The teens that have not only their lives changing, but them getting filled with the Holy Spirit, watching the Holy Spirit grow in them and watching them go out and start new fires across the world (is great)," Becker said.
Becker pointed to some groups in Belgium starting weekend retreats much like iYouth camps as an example, and like those international teens getting hands-on in the mission that has been preached to them, he recommends for anyone to consider getting involved in their community.
"I just encourage people to reach out, get out and do it," Becker said. "It's been great. It's been a great adventure. I wouldn't do anything different."